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Number of National Universities to be Cut to 35 by 2007

Posted March. 25, 2005 23:35,   


By 2007, mergers and closures will reduce the current 50 national universities to 35 in an effort to boost the competitiveness of the universities and to precipitate restructuring. Also, the number of college students will be reduced by 15 percent by 2009.

To secure the financial resources of higher educational institutions, companies who give donations to private universities will receive increased tax-deductions, allowing expenses of 100 percent, up from 50 percent, on the grounds that donations are regarded as expenses and are thus exempt from taxation.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources briefed President Roh Moo-hyun at Cheong Wa Dae on March 25 and said it would push for college reform measures to bolster higher education’s competitive edge.

The ministry will establish and run the college reform board and enact a special law on college reform. It will provide up to 20 billion won annually for two to five years for those who initiate the mergers and acquisitions drive.

In response, President Roh president said that “in the process of overhauling universities, the key should not be the reduction in student numbers or mergers and acquisitions themselves, but the improvement of competitiveness in the higher education system.” He added, “As the policy stands to face much resistance, the ministry should examine various ways to present effective methods for achieving this ultimate goal.”

Also, the president emphasized that “the issue of the best and the brightest clustered around the capital should be addressed for the balanced development of the country,” and went on to say, “Universities in provincial areas should lead the development of their regions.”

In-Chul Lee inchul@donga.com